Glasscock Again Denied Access To Hallowed Hall

Jack GlasscockIn what has sadly become an annual tradition, once again the BBWAA has failed to elect John Wesley “Pebbly Jack” Glasscock to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Glasscock, whose major league career extended 17 seasons from 1879-1895, stood out as one of the finest shortstops of the 19th century. With the stick in his hand, Glasscock managed to hit .290/.337/.374 (a 112 OPS+) and was a defensive whiz to boot. According both Fangraphs and Baseball Reference, Glasscock measured in excess of 60 wins above replacement for his career, and was easily one of the 20 most valuable shortstops in baseball history despite playing in an era where teams often played fewer than 100 games a year.

Standing just 5’8”, Glasscock was smaller than most of his contemporaries, but it proved to be more important how he used his size, as he played his position like a much bigger man and he would invariably leave his teams more than satisfied with his performance. In his prime, it was difficult indeed to get him off the field, as he led the majors in games played at short through 1899. He was always a man in motion, had intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of the sport, and seemingly would always come through in the clutch.

His career climaxed in 1889—when he hit .352/.390/.467 and banged out 205 hits to lead the National League. He also proved as solid as a rock in the infield, leading the NL in chances at SS (by more than 100), putouts, assists (by 80), double plays, and fielding percentage—and in 1890—when he led the National League in hits again, stroking 172 of them, and batting average.

With as hard as he had been working it, perhaps understandably Glasscock injured his hand in 1891 and was never the same hitter, but his tremendous defense still made him a popular fellow for teams to jump into bed with years to come. Sated, he finally hung up his glove in 1901, and retired to a life of carpentry. Indeed, working with wood became the primary focus of his post-baseball life, until he finally died in 1947.

I wish I could say we have seen some growth in the Hall of Fame electorate, as they’ve become more exposed to Glasscock. However, in their biggest boner, 69 times now the BBWAA electors have voted, and for some reason Glasscock hasn’t attracted them at all. I can only hope that by shining a light on Glasscock here, and by making him more prominent, he can finally receive the attention his performance rightfully deserves, his support can build and build until it goes over the edge and explodes, and he can become perhaps the most celebrated member in Baseball’s Valhalla.

A big throbbing thank you to the SABR Biography Project, whose information made this post both possible and highly arousing.



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Mike Bates co-founded The Platoon Advantage, and has written for many other baseball websites, including NotGraphs (rest in peace) and The Score. Currently, he writes for MLB Daily Dish on SB Nation. His favorite word is paradigm. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBatesSBN.


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Billy
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Billy

That must be a fun last name to have in middle school.

Joe Adcock
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Joe Adcock

Why?

Chaz Bono
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Chaz Bono

If only I could…

Pete LaCock
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Pete LaCock

It’s funny because his last name has the word “ass” in it. Also, his first name was Peter.

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